Garlic or allium sativa is a natural antibiotic as it kills viruses and bacteria. In the past people used to use it also in the form of a pulp on wounds, to avoid possible infections. Garlic is a powerful ally of the Mediterranean diet as those who follow it live longer and have better health.
What is the reason for its antibiotic action?
The antibiotic action is due to the allicin created when we chop garlic, which contains a component called Diallyl disulfide and has the ability to fight bacteria even though they are protected by a biostroma that makes them even more resistant to antibiotics.
This substance can make the food safer. It can be used to clean the food preparation counter, or as a preservative in packaged foods such as potatoes , coleslaw, meats. This would not only extend the shelf life of the food, but would significantly reduce the growth of potentially harmful bacteria. And all this without the need to add chemical preparations’ the researchers state.
According to research, allicin is toxic to cancer cells. However, stomach acids and heat inhibit the enzymatic action of alliinase, resulting in less allicin being formed and consequently, garlic in its cooked form has a less potent therapeutic effect.
The antimicrobial, antithrombotic and antioxidant properties of garlic, as well as its ability to reduce blood lipid levels, have been attributed to the substance allicin. The antineoplastic properties are probably due to sulphur compounds or other components of unknown chemical composition and structure.
The ability of garlic to reduce blood pressure values has been studied but remains controversial. In 1994, several studies analysed and evaluated the effect of garlic on hypertension. Three trials showed a significant reduction in systolic blood pressure (by 7.7 mmHg), and four trials showed a reduction in diastolic blood pressure (by 5 mmHg) with garlic, compared to a placebo drug.
In a more recent analysis, however, 23 controlled trials with a placebo drug were examined. Only three trials showed a statistically significant reduction in diastolic blood pressure (2-7%), and one trial showed a reduction in systolic blood pressure (about 3%) in patients who consumed garlic, versus placebo drug.
Epidemiological data from individual controls and some group studies have shown a reduced risk of stomach and colon (large intestine) cancer with increased consumption of garlic and other vegetables with similar components (e.g., onions, leeks, green onions). However, many of these studies were not well designed. In one group study, garlic supplementation did not provide the same benefit. However, there is no study evaluating garlic supplementation and cancer incidence.
Consumption of one to two pieces of raw garlic per day is considered safe for adults. The most common unpleasant consequence of garlic is the smell on the breath and body. Eating too much raw garlic, especially on an empty stomach, can cause gastrointestinal upset and changes in intestinal motility.
There have been reports of allergic dermatitis, burns, and rashes from topical application of raw garlic.
Garlic appears to have no effect on drug metabolism, although recent studies in healthy volunteers show conflicting results regarding the effect of garlic on the action of drugs with protease inhibitors.
It has been suggested that patients taking anticoagulant drugs should exercise caution when consuming garlic, as it displays antithrombotic properties.
The effective dose for garlic has not been established. The doses generally recommended in the literature for adults are 4 grams (1-2 pieces) of raw garlic per day or a 300mg tablet of garlic powder, 2 to 3 times per day, or 7.2grams (1.2 grams) of garlic powder per day.
7mg of garlic extract per day.
Sources: www.nutrimed.gr, itrofi.gr